Latin for "God from the machine" this is a plot device found when a story seems to be backed into a corner, only to introduce something out of left field that radically alters the plot or solves a conflict with extreme ease.
A plot device in which a difficult problem is resolved by the introduction of a new character, ability, or item. The technique has been found in literature as far back as the ancient Greek tragedies, frequently being utilized by Euripides to tie up his stories. In general, deus ex machina is considered to be a sign of poor storytelling, as external resolution undermines the fundamental logic of a story--why depict any conflict at all if a hand will be waved and all characters emerge unscathed?
Deus ex machina occurs across genres and examples include: the appearance of Gil Krundle in Beerfest; the last-minute royal decree that saves Mack the Knife in The Threepenny Opera; any time a Dragonball Z character discovers a new power level (Super Saiyan 1, 2, etc.) to help them defeat a villain.
|2010||Going the Distance|
|2010||Sex and the City 2|
|2004||Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story|
|2003||The Matrix Revolutions|
|1994||Star Trek: Generations|
|1987||Superman IV: The Quest for Peace|
|1979||Measure for Measure|
|1963||Lord of the Flies|